Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Mentoring has been recognized as a valuable part of the development of young engineers, and a number of mentoring programs are operating using practicing engineers and engineering students. Collection of data on mentoring programs, however, is at a less advanced stage.
An eight-week long trial mentoring program was run for 17 third and fourth year students studying Bachelors civil and environmental engineering degrees late in 2016. They were paired with practicing, mostly civil, engineers. The trial was supported by a cross-disciplinary team from two university schools (engineering and teaching) and a local leading practicing engineering manager. An information pack on mentoring was prepared for participants. A kick-off session for mentors and mentees included lecture content and exercises in building rapport, active listening and effective questioning. Participants were provided with on-line resources and an on-line chat forum. Mentors and mentees were asked to complete pre-trial and post-trial on-line surveys. The paper will analyze in detail the results of these surveys.
The pre and post-trial surveys examined the expectations and reservations of participants in order to develop guidance on how best to communicate about a mentoring relationship with both students and practicing engineers. The surveys showed an average of five meetings of 30-60 minutes between the mentors and mentees during the trial. A common issue for students was their desire for a strong match of professional interests, while mentors and the program organizers did not see this as an issue. One issue observed by the program organizers was a need for personality matching: matching of talkative extroverts with quiet introverts seemed to lead to a greater risk of less valuable mentoring. The issue of matching would be explored in greater detail in the paper.
A key finding was that the mentoring seemed more effective for third year students than fourth year students: third year students still faced significant university decisions related to final year optional courses, the type of employment to pursue over the summer and for job interviews, and overseas exchange study. Mentors themselves saw great benefit in their own professional and personal development by being trained in mentoring, participating in mentoring, and then reflecting on the experience.
Based on the trial, our university is intending to advance mentoring in the following ways: • Further develop the information pack and kick-off workshop session • Reduce the emphasis on on-line resources and chat rooms • Offer mentoring to third year students by practicing engineers • Offer mentoring as a course for practicing engineers with course credits that could be applied to masters degrees • Require third year student mentees to agree to serve as mentors in their fourth year to second year students • Develop the program to the extent that practicing engineers are eager to participate.
Milke, M. W., & Kamp, A., & Brierley, D. (2018, June), Board 48: Analysis of a Trial of Mentoring between Civil Engineering Students and Practicing Engineers Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30042
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015